Supergirls ready for second chance

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 09/08/2016
  • By Kassie Gadeke

Simona De Silvestro and Renee Gracie will return to Mount Panorama this year as the Harvey Norman Supergirls with a focus on improvement at the 2016 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

The pair tackled the tough endurance race for the first time last year, with Silvestro, 27, sharing just two test days with Gracie before hitting the toughest circuit on the calendar.

Respected for her driving in Formula E and IndyCar, De Silvestro spearheads the all-female entry and feels more prepared this time around.

In 2015, the women finished 21st after Gracie slid and crashed on oil early in the race. The crew was able to get the Prodrive Racing Australia Falcon back on-track to qualify as a finisher, giving the girls plenty of miles at the mountain. 

“It is the same program we had last year, so I think everything will be pretty similar,” De Silvestro told supercars.com. 

“Last year everything was pretty new, and I had never been to Australia before so it was very overwhelming.

“This time it feels more at home with Renee. I’ve learned a lot with how she was driving last year and I think we can build on that and work on the car this year.”

Again the girls will have two test days for the wildcard entry, and while De Silvestro recognises the tough level of competition, she believes they will be able to improve.

“It’s going to be difficult because everyone else is in these types of cars all year,” she said.

“When you’re not in it all the time you can’t really work on setup that much – it takes a lot of time to develop that over a season.

“For us it’s quite difficult to get to Bathurst – the toughest track.

“But knowing we were pretty comfortable last year, hopefully we can build on that this year.”

The Harvey Norman Supergirls received a lot of attention both on and off-track last year. Gracie is hoping that will subside this time around so she can focus more on the driving.

She will juggle co-driver duties for the wild card with her Dunlop Series campaign at Mount Panorama.  

“I don’t think there will be a lot of hype like last year – just before qualifying I did three interview in 10 minutes … so it was pretty stressful and pretty crazy,” Gracie told supercars.com.

“I don’t think it’ll be like that this year … I hope Simona and I can spend more time trying to figure out how to go fast, than trying to talk to all the media people.

“There was a fair bit of stuff last year through the news and everything … so hopefully that’s all died down, everyone’s over that now and we can spend more time working on the car.

“I’ve got my development Series program still, but hopefully there’s more focus on what we’re actually doing, and what we’re there for – that’s racing.”

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